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MURIC wants Nigeria to declare 1st day of Islamic calendar as public holiday

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Saturday urged the Federal Government to declare the first day of the Islamic calendar as a public holiday.

In a statement issued on Saturday by its Director- General, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the group stated that January 1 recognized by countries across the world, including Nigeria, as the beginning of the new year was “unfair and unjust” to Muslims in the country.

MURIC, therefore, urged the government to declare the 1st of Muharram Hijrah, which is the first day in the Islamic calendar as a “Muslim New Year.”

The statement read: “As usual, the Federal Government declared 1st January, 2022, a public holiday in recognition of the first day of the Christian Gregorian calendar.

“But because the day fell on a Saturday, the Federal Government created an alternative by declaring the following Monday a public holiday.

“This was an aberration and a gross injustice because Nigerian Muslims have been demanding the declaration of the first day of the Islamic calendar as a holiday for more than 20 years to no avail.

“It simply means that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is also supporting the ‘Christianisation’ of Nigeria. It considers the first day of the Christian calendar as sacred while the first day of the Islamic calendar is regarded as unimportant.

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“MURIC frowns at this lopsided arrangement. It is unfair, unjust and undemocratic. We demand an immediate review of the Federal Government’s holiday policy.

“We demand the declaration of the first day of the Islamic calendar as a holiday to justify the 1st January holiday that is declared annually by the Federal Government.

“If the Federal Government fails to properly recognise the first day of the Muslim calendar as it has recognised the Christian calendar, it should stop declaring New Year holidays.

“The government’s failure to declare the Hijrah holiday is modern-day slavery which Muslims have been suffering since the colonial era.

“1st January holiday is a Christian colonial creation designed to dignify and rubber-cushion the pomp and pageantry of Christmas. In the interest of peace, Federal Government should review this Christian colonial heritage.”

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